Supermarine Nanok (Polar Bear)/ Solant

The Supermarine Nanok (Polar Bear)/ Solant was designed as a torpedo bomber for the Danish Navy, but was rejected and ended up being used as a pleasure craft by the Guinness family.

The Danish Navy enquired about the possibility of acquiring a torpedo bomber flying boat in the mid 1920s and in June 1926 placed a contract for the production of a single prototype. 

Supermarine responded with the Nanok, a modified version of their successful Southampton Flying Boat. Like the Southampton the Nanok was a twin bay biplane, with its engines mounted between the wings. The Nanok was powered by three 430hp Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IV engines, one on the centre line and one close to each of the inner struts. It used a similar fuselage to the Southampton, and had a similar high tail, consisting of a monoplane with three vertical surfaces and rudders. 

The Nanok could carry one torpedo under each wing, carried close to the fuselage. It made its maiden flight at Woolston on 21 June 1927, but it wasn't as fast as expected, and was nose heavy. As a result the Danes ended the contract, and no more aircraft were built.

The sole Nanok was sold to the Hon A.E. Guinness, a member of the Guinness brewing family, in 1928. It was converted into a luxury air yacht, capable of carrying twelve passengers (although when looking at photographs of the Solent one does wonder where they actually sat), and renamed as the Supermarine Solent. Lighter but less powerful Jaguar IVA engines were installed, and there was more usable weight. Between then and 1931 the Solent was used to fly between Southampton, Dublin and County Galway, where the Guinness family owned Ashford Castle. The aircraft was scrapped in 1934.

Engine: Three Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IVs
Power: 430hp each
Span: 75ft
Length: 50ft 6in
Height: 19ft 6in
Empty weight: 10,619lb
All-up weight: 16,311lb
Max speed: 113.5mph
Climb Rate: 607ft/ min
Range: 240 miles
Armament: Two .303in Lewis guns
Bomb load: Two torpedoes

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 April 2017), Supermarine Nanok (Polar Bear)/ Solant , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_supermarine_nanok_solant.html

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